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Obama Talks Cannabis

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Obama Talks Cannabis


President Obama has had a lot of varying stances on cannabis throughout his years as commander-in-chief. Some were optimistic that he would reschedule cannabis by the end of 2014 as he showed signs of ending prohibition earlier in the year, but that hope came and went without any resolution. Many have noticed that he’s been pretty quiet about a topic that’s been taking the country by storm over the last couple of years — save for a few interviews online.

Just this week, Obama sat down for an 18-minute interview with Vice News during his visit to Atlanta. During the conversation, he discussed a number of pertinent issues from ISIS to the controversial letter to Iran to his view on the consistent Republican backlash. He also addressed concerns regarding cannabis, specifically interviewer Shane Smith’s notion that marijuana legalization is the highest priority of internet readers.

“First of all, it shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority,” Obama said. “Young people, I understand this is important to you. But you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe, way at the bottom, you should be thinking about marijuana.”

His comment sheds some light on his lack of understanding of the intersection of issues and, more alarmingly, his failure to see cannabis as a potent, healing medicine that vastly improves the lives of many people of all ages. The idea that the younger generation’s attention towards legalization is somehow misplaced or an indication of irresponsibility lacks compassion on the President’s part.

Despite this shortfall, he does acknowledge that a move towards legalization would have a significant and positive impact in many ways — especially when it comes to the legal system.

“Our justice system is so heavily skewed towards cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders that it has not just had a terrible effect on many communities — particularly communities of color, rendering a lot of folks unemployable because they’ve got felony records, disproportionate prison sentences — it costs a huge amount of money to states.”

In an interview with Hank Green of the VlogBrothers earlier this year, Obama said that more states were likely to legalize cannabis and that his administration wouldn’t use their resources to turn back decisions being made at the local level. Although Obama hasn’t made any major moves to change the current federal status of cannabis, it’s likely that he will continue to make comments in loose but vague support of federal legalization.

What do you think about Obama’s interview? Share your thoughts in the comments.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Michael Chang

    June 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    When Obama said, “… you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe, way at the bottom, you should be thinking about marijuana,” I thought to myself: Smoking cannabis actually makes you think about those very things EVEN MORE!

    Therefore, he doesn’t understand, and he clearly hasn’t smoked weed in a long time. Cannabis, as well as a lot of psychedelics, are mind-expanding medicines that somehow inspire one to give more thought to issues related to equality, freedom, peace, civil rights, environmentalism, et al.

  2. charles

    March 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Legalization is a BIG priority because it is a condition for the possibility of many bigger priorities. You want people to listen and take you serious about climate change while you declare a green plant a schedule 1 drug? Mentioning substance abuse is smart but what about alcohol then and compare Marijuana to that, theres a perspective. Also all the other drugs (meth, coke, crack) he compares Marijuana to, are more similar (man-made) to alcohol, than Marijuana (which has no physical addition.) This would also boost the economy way better that the “bailout” or “cash for clunker” with no cost to us tax payers, create jobs, save money on failed DEA and drug policing programs, and create tax money. As the leader of the USA, his goal should be to make this county great, not “a little bit better”. You want to make significant long term change, be proactive “declare a war on indifference and ignorance”. You want young people to vote, educate them.

  3. Regina Monroe

    March 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Cannabis Legalization is climate change…a major change…President Obama!!!

  4. NLxBilly

    March 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Luvv Obama !!

  5. Juan Leonardo Vargas

    March 19, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I believe that you are miss quoting Mr.Obama,I am hearing great concern for our young people what is evident is the miss use of a drug culture of youngsters,their aim is only to get high and party.I see concern for our future survival when all potential minds for great achievement,are gone,gone up in smoke.Make no mistake about it we as a nation are at a crossroads of self destruction,destruction by allowing chemistry to be miss used.To use an old quote”A mind is a terrible thing to waste” People if we lose our young ones,fresh MINDS we lose it all.Stop and think about it,we’re playing with fire,and we can’t disguise the truth.Think People Think!!!!! Please stop and think before it is to late.

    • johnathan spencer fox

      March 22, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Man marijane is one of the world best medication. And why should people that don’t smoke be up in everybody’s else’s biasness’ about smoking marijane. We don’t complain about people going to bars and drinking so why should you guy be judging us about smokin marijane. And what have pill help people do. Ow ya helped the Yong kid get ahold of them and over dose. And what about smoking cigarettes hu there is over 7,000 chemicals in cigarets. Ya the government has got everyone thinking marijane is bad. When they can take one of the world deadliest plants on earth “tobacco” and make it legal.man I am a kid that can end up with cancer at any time. And marijane has help me get through the most roughest times.with my pain,depression, and through everything else. And I got a poem for the world to hear me out. Weed is a seed that grows in the ground. If god didn’t wont us to find it. It wouldn’t be found so all you mother truckers that don’t get high shut the f up and give it a try. Sincerely Johnathan Spencer fox send from Jerome,Idaho 83338

  6. Shawn Strom

    March 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    #1 I am not a young person and I would like something besides beer after my workday. #2 Obama shouldn’t be telling people what to think.

  7. Sherri

    March 19, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    It’s just wrong that he is not seeing it as a valuable medicine and as such, pushing for legalization. Something as important as curing Cancer, as well as so many other things cannabis helps should not be at the bottom of his list.

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